Becoming Independent: Tips & Tricks for First Time Apartment Renters

Living in Your First Apartment Rental 

Moving into your first apartment is exciting, since it might be your first taste of independence. It can also be stressful, as there are some things you may find confusing about the process. Before you start apartment hunting, read these tips and tricks for first-time renters. These tips will give you an idea of what to expect throughout the process of renting your first apartment. 

1. Apartment Hunting 

Bedroom with a dark green comforter, bedside table, lamp and four pictures on the wall

Thanks to the internet, apartment hunting is much more convenient. Use programs like Google Maps to familiarize yourself with areas you want to move to before visiting them. When you find a community you like, look at any reviews, photos, and videos that are on the property’s webpage. 

Review the amenities available at the community, and make sure it has everything you need. For example, if you do not have a car, make sure the property has transportation options nearby. 

2. Limit Your Search 

Florida is home to hundreds of different apartment communities, and many of them will not fit your needs. Before you start apartment hunting, define exactly what you are looking for from an apartment.  

Narrow your search by budget, number of beds and bathrooms, and commuting distance. Think about amenities you need to have, and look for communities that offer them. If you are looking for pet-friendly apartments, exclude any communities that do not allow animals. 

3. Check & Improve Your Credit Score 

calculator, pen and spreadsheet with numbers

Having a poor credit report can be dangerous during an apartment search. Landlords will be checking your credit score, so you make sure yours looks good. The better your score is, the easier it will be to get an apartment you like. 

Before you invest in an apartment, take some time to build up and maintain your credit score. Stay on top of payments, and check your credit reports for any inaccuracies that could affect your score. If you have a credit card, keep its balance low. 

4. Plan Your Budget 

Before you settle on an apartment, you should plan out your budget. Sit down and figure out how much money you make each month, and compare that to amount you need to spend on your monthly rent. If an apartment’s monthly rent is one-third of your monthly salary, you are in the right price range. 

This is because rent is not the only cost you have to budget for. You have to leave room in your budget for food, bills, and utility costs. Start saving money now so you have a financial buffer to work with. Living from one paycheck to the next is a risky proposition, so make sure you have plenty of money to work with. 

5. Meet Your Neighbors 

Two people shaking hands

Complaints about neighbors are among the most common issues that people have when living in apartments. Sometimes people find that they cannot get along with their neighbors, which can make apartment life stressful. Before moving in to an apartment, take some time to meet your new neighbors. 

Talking to your neighbors will establish a positive relationship right away. By getting off on the right foot, you will have an easier time getting along once you move in. This also gives you a chance to learn more about the community and what is good about it. 

6. Review Your Contract/Lease 

Man and woman at a table looking over a contract

After you make a final decision on an apartment, you will have to sign a contract or lease. Read through it, and make sure you understand all the terms before you sign. Make sure you understand when the rent is due, and if late penalties will be assessed. 

Take this time to confirm when your lease begins so you know when you can move in. Also, you should review what utilities are included with your payment. Ask about any aesthetic changes (such as painting) you can make in your new space. 

Make sure you get a copy of the signed contract for personal use. 

7. Dealing with Deposits 

After making the initial deposit on the apartment, you may need to put down some other payments. For example, you might need to pay a fee to activate phone services, cable, and other necessary utilities. A security deposit usually costs around one month’s rent, and other utility deposits can cost anywhere from $25 to $200.  

Plan ahead and try and coordinate your move closer to the beginning of the month. This ensures that you get the most out of your initial deposits and rent payments. 

8. Get Renter’s Insurance 

Veteran renters recommend that you get renter’s insurance, even if you are hesitant about it. You may trust yourself not to damage anything, but you never know when an accident could occur. With renter’s insurance, you can get reimbursed on any items that break in your unit. 

Renter’s insurance protects your belongings from natural disasters, and allows you to get money back if anything is stolen. You are covered for any damages that occur within your apartment, so you will have peace of mind. 

9. Moving In 

Young woman holding a large cardboard box

Every new apartment owner should have a plan set up for move-in day. Friends & family that may be able to help with the move, so ask if they are available to help you. If schedules conflict, or you have any large or heavy items to move, you should opt for a professional moving service. Do research online to make sure you get the best moving company for the job. 

If you need furnishings and are working on a small budget, check second-hand or thrift stores for furniture. The furniture might be old, but you might find a few diamonds in the rough. Some of the things offered may need a little work, but with a little elbow grease you can have something great for your new apartment. 

10. Enjoy Your Apartment 

Once you move into your new apartment, take the time to enjoy yourself. Decorate and furnish the apartment to your liking, or take the time to cook your favorite meal. Do whatever it takes to make your new apartment feel like home.  

Do not forget to get some rest after you move in. You earned it after doing all this work. 

Looking to move into your own apartment? Browse our selection of apartments in Florida.